'Living Legend' Thatcher plays a lonely role

SURROUNDED by more than 1,000 adoring fans, the wealthy, great and good of Dallas, Margaret Thatcher had never looked more alone.

As in comedy, timing in tragedy is everything. Yesterday, as Baroness Thatcher was lionised as a 'Living Legend' by the oil rich business community, the timing could hardly have been worse. She stood accused of allowing her son Mark to profit from arms dealing, her health seems to be abandoning her, and Mark's marriage was reportedly falling apart.

The engagement, a sterile, ordered interview, entitled a 'A Conversation With A Living Legend', had been booked two years ago as a way of raising funds for a Houston cancer hospital. There was no escape.

Lady Thatcher arrived looking as gaunt as she had been the day before at the Conservative Party conference. She refused to answer questions about the controversial Al Yamamah arms deal. Nor was there comment on newspaper reports that her son's wife, Diane, had asked for a divorce after hiring private detectives to record Mr Thatcher's alleged liaison with Sarah Clemence, the daughter of a wealthy property developer in London.

Police sealed off each end of the young Thatchers' road for a time, leading to expectations that Lady Thatcher would visit her grandchildren. But she didn't.

Instead, she was ushered into the cold vastness of the Loews Anatole Hotel where power-dressed men and painfully thin women awaited her arrival. It must have been one of her darkest days, but the Texans knew nothing of her trials.

Guests had paid between pounds 50 and pounds 10,000 for a seat to hear Lady Thatcher interviwed by Chip Moody, a local TV anchor man. 'We think she's wonderful,' said Tiffin Moody, Chip's daughter, who arrived carrying a copy of The Downing Street Years. 'She's so strong, such an inspiration to women everywhere.'

And she was strong, from the moment she arrived on stage through a set of mock iron gates. Not put off by the organisers' description of her as 'prime minister from 1987 to 1990', or by the chairman's anecdote about Enoch Powell, 'leader of the opposition', she gave a bravura performance: the Falklands, Libya, Bosnia, Gorbachev. She talked about everything but her son.

Three-quarters of an hour of classic Thatcherism earned a standing ovation worthy of a Tory party conference, and she left surrounded by security men and looking very much alone.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Services Executive - Enfield, North London

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Client Services Executive - Enfield, North London ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn